In the last installment of our three-part series about what to know before buying a fire pit, we focus on style, size, and material. In the first post, we looked at considerations such as type of fuel, construction permits and the best place to locate your fire pit. In the second installment, we covered safety considerations, natural gas vs propane and whether you should install the fire pit permanently or go with a portable model. Here is the wrap-up of this popular topic.
Fire Pit Style
Perhaps the most fun part when buying a fire pit is browsing through the various designs. These days, you can find just about anything, from petite fire bowls that sit atop a table to fire tables made for eating and drinking on up to full-on fireplaces. Some have a lip around the fire itself, which is handy for keeping the warmth away if you like to place a cold beverage on the top. Often, consumers have a choice of finish color so that is another feature to consider.
For traditionalists, a square or round firetable with realistic logs may be the best choice. But if your tastes lean to the contemporary, consider a low-to-the-ground fire bowl or a rectangular fire pit such as the Louvre model from American Fyre shown here, which is crated from fiber reinforced concrete.
If you do not have a lot of room in your outdoor living space, consider a fire urn or this Magnolia lantern, which is a very unique design sure to turn your backyard into a real showstopper.
Fire Pit Sizes
As alluded to above, fire pits are available in a wide range of sizes. The Marseille fire bowl pictured here, for instance, is a petite 24” round so it can easily sit atop a table or at the corners of a swimming pool. One of the largest choices is the Iron Saddle firetable, which measures 36” wide by 60” long.
When buying a fire pit, another consideration is the height. Shown here is a Milan Tall Linear Firetable, which is a full 32” high. This would be a great choice if you enjoy lounging on barstools of counter or bar height. Lower fire pits (18 – 20”) are a better choice if you prefer propping your feet along the edge. They also provide the maximum heat when seated.
Remember, too, that you need to account for the flow of traffic around the fire pit. Allow for about 5 – 7’ around the perimeter of your fire feature to ensure sufficient circulation and plenty of room for comfy chairs. With built-in seating, the measurement from the fire to the back of the seat should be around 4’.
Materials for Fire Pits
Before buying a fire pit, think about the type of material from which it is made. Some of the more popular choices are concrete, metal and stone. Reclaimed wood tops are also quite a trendy selection, and their style goes well with our casual, Southern California vibe. Whatever you choose, make sure it will stand up to the ways you use it and the location, such as whether or not the fire pit will be covered during inclement weather.
While concrete is quite durable, it can be prone to staining. While natural stone is a traditional choice, the pieces can crack from the intense heat. A mix of materials may work best. The same holds true for the fire media; select from fire rocks, stones, glass and more.
With the end of this three-part series on what to know before buying a fire pit, we hope you have found a comprehensive guide to adding the warmth and atmosphere only flames can provide in your backyard oasis.